These last two posts has me staring at the prompts, wringing my hands, hemming and hawing, but this particular one I realized, as I hemmed and hawed, I actually had something to say about.
Regular readers of this blog might already know: part of my deciding to maintain a writing blog in the first place was to learn more about myself. Sure, I want to get information about my work out there where people can see it, but I have no delusions about my audience — I’m a barely-named author at this stage in the game, and so a good part of this blogging for me has been about noticing trends, ups and downs in my writing production, to chart experiments, to see what works and what doesn’t.
In the beginning of 2012 my goal was somewhat enthusiastic. I was going to put life on hold and spend 4 months getting a novel rough draft done. This was of course while working full time. And for two months I managed it, and then I was miserable, I hated the story, I hated writing, and I thought maybe, just maybe I wouldn’t be a writer anymore. Never mind that ‘writer’ has been part of my internal landscape for most of my life. Never mind that killing the part of me that enjoyed writing killed a part of me that enjoyed stories. Never mind that in April of 2012 my grandfather sickened, that by July he had died, and that my grandmother would spend the remainder of the year lingering until she could join him. By April I was pretty sure that I hated writing. By July I was pretty sure I didn’t really care about much other than dealing with crisis after crisis and being there for my family as much as I could be, despite being three thousand miles away. Oh, right, and one of our cats died, too. Huzzah!
Many months, and many, many, many bottles of wine later, 2013 arrived, and with it renewed dedication. The other novel was set aside — it was a struggle to begin with, though I love the premises, but it is now linked to the year that can kiss my ass, and so, enough. I returned to the universe of The Fairy Queen of Spencer’s Butte and Other Tales, to start a series of stories for the second book . . . and instead Brit and Thistle wouldn’t let go of the story, and suddenly I was walking home from work playing out dialogues between them. (Yes, out loud. What?)
That work currently sits at just under 40k words, and in need of completion. I realized I’d written most of the Brit and Thistle scenes, and I need to go back and deal with Keti and Brit scenes, Thistle and Keti scenes, and various other scenes, but right as I realized that I realized: novel writing drains me, and so I’m currently on a short story kick. Short to novella length stories are my natural length, and instead of trying to square peg into a round hole it, I’m attempting now to honor what I know of myself. Because, goal wise? Goal wise, I want to write. I want to get the stories out. And I have a ton of shorts to write, and a number of books to write, and I want to keep goinggoinggoing!! So, instead of writing novels and trying to fit the short story writing around that, I am now writing the stories and fitting the novel writing around that. And it’s breathing new life and love and excitement and, most of all, curiosity, into my writing.
So, the most important bit of advice that I can think of? It’s not write what you know. It’s Know Thyself. Which, ultimately, is my aim in life in general. If you don’t know yourself, you cannot pursue your goals, because without knowing yourself as fully as you can, you have no idea what those goals are. And, the questing after yourself never stops. Ever. And you know, that curiosity? It’s important. Keep learning.